PDA

View Full Version : Switch Hitting and Handedness


FightingBillini
03-10-2005, 11:23 AM
I have been thinking about this for a while. I am right handed, so I bat and throw righty. I plan on living out my pathetic baseball dreams through my kids someday:D: , so I hope to teach them to switch hit. I tried hitting lefty before, but I just flailed feudally at the pitch. If there are any switch hitters here, I was wondering how switch hitting is taught. Obviously switch hitting skills are honed over several years as a player grows up, but are their certain characteristics that would make one a good switch hitter? I mean, if it was no more difficult than only hitting from one side, everyone would switch hit. It would be nuts watching Big Frank take cuts from the left handed batters box.

Another thing I was wondering about is handedness. I have never come across a switch hitter who throws lefty. If there something inherent about lefties that does not allow them to be good switch hitters? I understand that for 2B, SS, and 3B a player needs to throw righty, but even switch hitting outfielders all throw right handed. Also, why is is that some players like Robin Ventura, Willie Harris, and many others throw right handed but bat lefty? Did they likely just decide to bat lefthanded at some point in their career? Obviously, they would have to be right handed to throw righty, but why can't they bat righty also? If Willie can't hit lefties, why doesn't he learn to hit righty handed?

D. TODD
03-10-2005, 11:37 AM
I throw right handed but hit & golf left handed. It is not by choice, but the natural way I began doing both.

mdep524
03-10-2005, 11:39 AM
I have been thinking about this for a while. I am right handed, so I bat and throw righty. I plan on living out my pathetic baseball dreams through my kids someday, so I hope to teach them to switch hit. I tried hitting lefty before, but I just flailed feudally at the pitch. If there are any switch hitters here, I was wondering how switch hitting is taught. Obviously switch hitting skills are honed over several years as a player grows up, but are their certain characteristics that would make one a good switch hitter? I mean, if it was no more difficult than only hitting from one side, everyone would switch hit. It would be nuts watching Big Frank take cuts from the left handed batters box.

[QUOTE=FightingBillini]Another thing I was wondering about is handedness. I have never come across a switch hitter who throws lefty.
:yoohoo: I am left handed, and I switch hit. Actually, I was a better right handed hitter overall than left handed. Of course I was never all the good from either side.

If there something inherent about lefties that does not allow them to be good switch hitters? I understand that for 2B, SS, and 3B a player needs to throw righty, but even switch hitting outfielders all throw right handed. Also, why is is that some players like Robin Ventura, Willie Harris, and many others throw right handed but bat lefty? Did they likely just decide to bat lefthanded at some point in their career? Obviously, they would have to be right handed to throw righty, but why can't they bat righty also? If Willie can't hit lefties, why doesn't he learn to hit righty handed?
Since there is an inherent advantage for a left handed batter to face a right handed pitcher (and the league is made up of mostly RHPs), lefties don't often go through the trouble of learning to bat righty since batting lefty is their greatest comparative advantage. Right handed fielders like Ventura, Harris et. al. learn to bat lefty for that same advantage.

It's actually not *that* hard to learn to hit opposite handed. In some ways, it makes you a better hitter anyway, because your front arm that you "pull" with through your swing is your stronger arm. So your swing is more short, level and compact (though your power is often less).

MIgrenade
03-10-2005, 11:42 AM
I throw right handed but bat lefty, and play hockey lefty, but golf righty. I cant switch on any of those sports. I think if you learn at an early age you can switch hit. My oldest brother is a natural lefty and I think some of my oddity comes from that tutoring.

Iwritecode
03-10-2005, 11:44 AM
I'm a natural righty but I can bat left. Not real well, but enough to make pretty good contact with the ball. It's pretty much something that I taught myself. It's funny because when I was real little I wanted to bat (and bowl for that matter) lefty. I had a friend of mine get mad at me and throw a plastic bat across the hood of his dad's car because I was batting the "wrong way". :D:

These days I can't do anything left-handed. I look like a girl (no offense to certain WSI posters :wink:) when I try to throw left-handed...

Iwritecode
03-10-2005, 11:47 AM
Something I noticed at Soxfest...

Cliff Politte signs autographs with his left hand. I asked him about it and IIRC he said he does most things right-handed but writes left.

TDog
03-10-2005, 11:53 AM
The whole left-right thing is a mystery to me. I'm a left-handed computer mouser, but that's so I can thumb through papers and use the telephone and such while I am on the computer. I couldn't begin to hit or even sign my name left-handed.

I worked for a guy who was left-handed and pitched lefthanded in high school. He hit right, which I always thought would place him at a disadvantage. When we went out to batting cages, he could hit left, but not nearly as well.

Carlos May hit left, exceedingly well. He threw right. After he severely injured his right hand, instead of learning to throw left, he continued to throw right. He continues to be right-handed 35 years later.

Paulwny
03-10-2005, 11:56 AM
I located this, interesting comment from Charlie Lau.
http://www.baseballcorner.com/images/spacer.gifhttp://www.baseballcorner.com/images/ques.jpg When is the right age to start teaching switch hitting? Better to get one side right first and then add in the other side, or start early?http://www.baseballcorner.com/images/spacer.gifhttp://www.baseballcorner.com/images/spacer.gifhttp://www.baseballcorner.com/images/ans.jpg Start early (if he's ready for it). It's difficult to become a good switch hitter if the skills aren't pretty well set by 12 or 13. Keep in mind that some coaches don't believe in switch hitting at all. Here's a recent quote from Charlie Lau: "Why would anyone switch hit? I have reached the point where I donít see the value of switch-hitting at all...". He believes that if you have the proper batting technique you don't need to switch hit.



http://www.baseballcorner.com/images/spacer.gifhttp://www.baseballcorner.com/images/spacer.gif

mcg
03-10-2005, 12:26 PM
I remember watching some science program (maybe Bill Nye) years ago about batting. The point was something along the lines of you're not necessarily a better right hander hitter if you're right handed but it has to do with which is your dominant eye. In theory, you want your dominant eye closer to the pitcher because you'll be able to see the ball better.

If your right eye is your dominant eye then you should bat left and vice versa. I remember trying it and I could make decent contact with the ball when I batted lefty but it was hard because the swing felt weird. Then again this was just a pick-up game with neighborhood kids when we were all about jr. high age.

On the program they tested the theory with college players and had them stand on both sides of home plate and point to where they thought the ball hit a heavy-duty kind of tarp that was the "catcher". The tarp was wired to record where the ball actually hit it. Sure enough, when the player had their dominant eye closer to the pitcher they were able to more acurately spot where the ball hit the tarp.

RichFitztightly
03-10-2005, 12:36 PM
It's an interesting question. I bat lefty and golf righty. Golfing righty came about because when my parents went to the store to buy me clubs, all they had were righty clubs. I picked one up gave a few practice swings and decided I'd be able to play that way. What's wierd is that even though I've batted lefty for 20+ years I can't hit a golf ball lefty. Though I imagine after a year of practice I'd be able to pull off a consistannt golf swing. Batting righty on the other hand, I'm absolutely brutal. I'd probably need about 5 years of non-stop practice to even marginally make consistant contact at a highschool level.

I think it all boils down to natural athletic ability. While I can't switch hit at all, my little brother one day as a 14 year old, decided to try hitting lefty and had absolutely no problems. He never really gave serious thought to being a switch hitter because he had no real problems hitting righty, so he stuck with it.

fusillirob1983
03-10-2005, 12:40 PM
I'm a lefty at everything except I kick with my right foot and for some reason, I'm better at dribbling a basketball with my right hand.

WhiteSoxFan84
03-10-2005, 01:07 PM
I'm right-handed. I throw and hit right handed. When I was in 7th grade I began trying to hit lefty in the batting cages and when I played a few pick up games. Main reason I did it is because the RF fence where I played (small church parking lot) was do damn close. The LF fence, at the time, seemed so far away. I didn't do great, heck, I didn't even get the proper techniques down.

In high school, freshmen year, I told my coach I can switch hit. One day he told me to bat lefty in a game. When I bat lefty, I love inside pitches. So the pitcher (a righty) throws me a curveball inside. Now, keep in mind this is a freshmen game and we're all still learning. So this guys curveball barely moved. It was more of a fastball. I swing and just SMASH it deep to right. Where we played freshmen year, we had no fences. So the ball went over the RF's head and just kept rolling. I had an inside the park HR. My coach thinks I'm destined to be a switch-hitter and kept telling me to bat lefty as much as possible. A few games later, I find myself 3/20 as a lefty but all 3 hits are HRs lol. You might say that my problem was that I swang for the fences everytime. But I didn't, I just wasn't comfortable enough yet to hit as a left-handed in a game. Needless to say, I went back to batting strictly righty until junior year when I went back to hitting from both sides and everyone, including myself, saw the improvements. That being said, during my varsity years, whenever I faced a very good righty, I'd still bat right-handed just because I had better instincts as a righty and wanted to be at the top of my game.

My advice, when it comes to teaching your kid, is that when him and yourself feel like he is good enough batting from his natural side, then move on to the other side ASAP. The younger he starts learning the better because little kids have barely any prior experience and won't have any bad habits they may have picked up before. Whereas if you wait until he's in high school, he may have learned something in little league that will ruin his swing once he switches sides.

FightingBillini
03-10-2005, 01:18 PM
A few games later, I find myself 3/20 as a lefty but all 3 hits are HRs lol.

Looks like someone had a case of Joe Borchard symdrome:cool:.

batmanZoSo
03-10-2005, 01:57 PM
I have been thinking about this for a while. I am right handed, so I bat and throw righty. I plan on living out my pathetic baseball dreams through my kids someday:D: , so I hope to teach them to switch hit. I tried hitting lefty before, but I just flailed feudally at the pitch. If there are any switch hitters here, I was wondering how switch hitting is taught. Obviously switch hitting skills are honed over several years as a player grows up, but are their certain characteristics that would make one a good switch hitter? I mean, if it was no more difficult than only hitting from one side, everyone would switch hit. It would be nuts watching Big Frank take cuts from the left handed batters box.

Another thing I was wondering about is handedness. I have never come across a switch hitter who throws lefty. If there something inherent about lefties that does not allow them to be good switch hitters? I understand that for 2B, SS, and 3B a player needs to throw righty, but even switch hitting outfielders all throw right handed. Also, why is is that some players like Robin Ventura, Willie Harris, and many others throw right handed but bat lefty? Did they likely just decide to bat lefthanded at some point in their career? Obviously, they would have to be right handed to throw righty, but why can't they bat righty also? If Willie can't hit lefties, why doesn't he learn to hit righty handed?

I can switch hit pretty well, it's just always been natural for me. I'll bat lefthanded when playing softball sometimes. My left handed swing is very long and loopy, and only suited to pulling the ball deep to right. I have much better control right handed and can hit to all fields a lot better. Again, I'm talking about slow pitch softball here. The weird thing is because of my lack of control with the bat left-handed, I'm a lot more selective out of necessity since I know I can't do anything with a pitch up and in by my face. But when I get a good pitch to hit lefty, I usually make great contact and it goes a long way.

I can throw left handed too and look natural, but not with any speed. Only if I'm playing short catch with a football or a baseball. It's weird how that works.

Great, now I'm itching to play some softball and it's snowing like a bastard outside. :angry:

maurice
03-10-2005, 03:30 PM
According to The Physics of Baseball, handedness should not affect how well you swing from either side. The Lau folks probably agree with this, while Hawk and the rest of the "top hand" crowd might disagree.

I used to switch hit but stopped because it essentially cuts in half the amount of BP you can take from either side. IMHO, you should pick the side that feels more natural and stick to it.

RKMeibalane
03-10-2005, 03:49 PM
I'm left-handed. I write and throw left-handed, and I first learned to bat left-handed. However, I also can bat right-handed, and I've found that I actually have better bat control from the right side of the plate. It may be the result of the additional concentration required for me to hit right-handed, since it's not what I'm used to doing. I've always performed the vast majority of my daily tasks with my left-hand, and so doing some of the same things with the opposite hand takes more effort and concentration on my part.

HomeFish
03-10-2005, 03:54 PM
My strange softball switch-hitting ability developed from my badminton backhand. Don't ask me how; but I found myself able to switch-hit after a time in my life were I played badminton about every day.

Apparently, when batting lefty (I am a natural righty), I have my arms all wrong (the left arm is where the right should be, and vice versa) but, since don't play in any intensely competitive leagues, this hasn't hurt me. I've found that I have more power from the left side as well.

HITMEN OF 77
03-10-2005, 05:16 PM
I'm ambi, but I no longer write with my left hand. I use to write papers and my right hand would get tired so I woudl finish writing the paper left handed. Well, when I would write left handed all the words were slanted. So when I would hand in my english papers my teacher thought I was only wrting half the paper asd someone else was writing the other half. Well, I told her I was ambi and such and she made me "pick a hand to write with" and "stick with it" so every since then I use the right hand to write. Now is baseball I switch hit. I'm a better "average" hitter from the right but have more "power" from the left.

Daver
03-10-2005, 05:40 PM
In response to the original question asked, start batting him lefty and righty as soon as he is old enough to play tee ball, So that the swing from either side becomes a natural process for him. As a youngster he is training himself in the action of swinging a bat, he may as well train it from both sides of the plate.

Paulwny
03-10-2005, 06:32 PM
I remember watching some science program (maybe Bill Nye) years ago about batting. The point was something along the lines of you're not necessarily a better right hander hitter if you're right handed but it has to do with which is your dominant eye. In theory, you want your dominant eye closer to the pitcher because you'll be able to see the ball better.

If your right eye is your dominant eye then you should bat left and vice versa. I remember trying it and I could make decent contact with the ball when I batted lefty but it was hard because the swing felt weird. Then again this was just a pick-up game with neighborhood kids when we were all about jr. high age.

On the program they tested the theory with college players and had them stand on both sides of home plate and point to where they thought the ball hit a heavy-duty kind of tarp that was the "catcher". The tarp was wired to record where the ball actually hit it. Sure enough, when the player had their dominant eye closer to the pitcher they were able to more acurately spot where the ball hit the tarp.

I read somewhere that this "Cross Eyed Dominant Theory" was tested on a few mlb teams. The one thing mentioned was that, during the Royals/ Brett haydays, > 50% of the positional players were cross- eyed dominant. Of course they attributed this as the reason for the team's hitting, including Brett.
Who Knows.
I haven't heard anymore on this theory for a number of years.

FightingBillini
03-10-2005, 08:28 PM
In response to the original question asked, start batting him lefty and righty as soon as he is old enough to play tee ball, So that the swing from either side becomes a natural process for him. As a youngster he is training himself in the action of swinging a bat, he may as well train it from both sides of the plate.

Thanks. It was more of a hypothetical question. I am only 22 now, but I am already planning to force my kids to live out my dreams:cool:. Hey, at least Al Bundy scored four TDs in one game, all I did was get a tipped pass.

Daver
03-10-2005, 08:43 PM
Thanks. It was more of a hypothetical question. I am only 22 now, but I am already planning to force my kids to live out my dreams:cool:. Hey, at least Al Bundy scored four TDs in one game, all I did was get a tipped pass.

My son refuses to even play baseball, over all my attempts to get him to try it. He plays football, as a linebacker and a running back, dabbles in soccer, and swims. His football coach has convinced him to try out for track when he gets to HS to help his football abilities.

My family name is likley to die with a career .190 BA.

:redneck

Iwritecode
03-11-2005, 09:30 AM
My son refuses to even play baseball, over all my attempts to get him to try it. He plays football, as a linebacker and a running back, dabbles in soccer, and swims. His football coach has convinced him to try out for track when he gets to HS to help his football abilities.

My family name is likley to die with a career .190 BA.

:redneck

Sounds about like me. My only problem is that I have daughters so I have to try and get them interested in fast-pitch softball (which is what I used to play). So far they haven't really taken much interest in it.

They do like to bowl though... :wink:

TDog
03-11-2005, 10:34 AM
My son refuses to even play baseball, over all my attempts to get him to try it. He plays football, as a linebacker and a running back, dabbles in soccer, and swims. His football coach has convinced him to try out for track when he gets to HS to help his football abilities.

My family name is likley to die with a career .190 BA.

:redneck

That's too bad. When I was a kid in Texas, I was forced to play organized football. Apparently it's the law. It seemed like a form of ritualized child abuse. Now I have so little interest in football that if I had a son, he wouldn't know there was such a thing.

I should have grown up in a home with a batting cage.

tlebar318
03-11-2005, 10:54 AM
I throw right handed but hit & golf left handed. It is not by choice, but the natural way I began doing both.

I have that same issue--extremely right handed except golf clubs and batting...even when using a broom! :D: